The Book of Mormon Kansas City

H and I have been wanting to watch The Book of Mormon for a while. Let’s start with a little context. H grew up in and around the church. Mormonism to her is not just a religion but friends, family and in some ways part of her culture. It is very similar to what Catholicism is to me. Neither of us are currently part of any particular church but we are both very respectful of what others believe. That said, we both have a crude sense of humor when we talk about religion to each other. We are both very frank people with each other about what we find hilarious but we don’t ever try to offend others with our views or ridiculing their views.

I have been in New York in recent years and I was tempted to go see the play while there, but opted to wait until we could see it together. We actually had plans to see it in Chicago but it did not pan out. We were fortunate enough to have a friend that had fantastic seats but was not going to attend so we bought the tickets from him. All that said we did have a close Mormon friend tell us not to go. It did cause some pause for me.

Before being married to a non practicing Mormon my knowledge of the religion was being visited at one point by missionaries down in Colombia. My Mom had a strict rule about other religions just not entering our household. I did have a grandfather that was agnostic most of his life but ended his days following Hinduism. I can be open minded and I did the whole American protestant churches tour. Mormons are a lot different than other protestants I have encountered. They are by far some of the most warm and welcoming people I have ever encountered.

SouthPark creators had previously taken on Mormonism with one of their episodes. Surprisingly that show only made me more interested about the religions and I have since watched it more than once and think it is really positive. It highlights the values that I really love about that religion, the emphasis on family. Mormonism is not for me because I really love coffee and my brain breaks the illusion of religion when it comes to food. Same reason I could not be a Muslim, I can stop eating bacon because it will give me a hear-attack but not because a book tells me so. I also stopped practicing Catholicism seriously when I realized that I forget lent and eat meat on Fridays… I did it for a couple of years without even noticing. I don’t like feeling guilty because of something I consume without thinking.

Before going to watch the show I looked for content about it and found a song that really made me a little uneasy. One of the best songs really highlights some of the reasons that Mormonism would quickly lose me as a member. The chorus “A Mormon just believes” is pretty tough for me. I have no problem with satire and Catholic altar boy jokes, however this song could potentially ridicule some of the doctrine.

The book of Mormon would not affect a devout Mormon at all. However, if you are a Mormon that has doubts or thinks there are things that don’t make sense, this play will probably highlight most of them in a way that might make you think it is pretty ridiculous for you to believe on them. Without giving away the whole play, I am certain that the creators of SouthPark were not trying to get members away from the church but simply make everyone laugh.

Chef (****)

I have always been somewhat of a Jon Favreau fan, so when I heard that he was going to be starting on a movie he wrote I was pretty intrigued. The movie seemed to have been promoted pretty well the last couple of weeks because it stayed in my radar. I heard an interview and a review on the radio. I knew from listening that it was a movie that I could not go hungry to because it was going to be a foodie porn movie for sure.

Chef’s cast was cast was excellent. Jon Favreau as “El Jefe” or the boss of the kitchen was very believable Chef Carl Casper. He created art when he was doing the cooking and highlighted the love that goes into crafting a good meal with some soul. John Leguizamo was the comedy relief as Martin, he had a couple of lines that will make you truly laugh without making the movie into a silly road trip movie. The kid in the movie was amazing, for such a young actor Emjay Anthony as Percy truly captured what it is to be part of a broken family and also let us see how kids not understand the digital world a little more than their parents. The female characters could have been a little stronger, but both Scarlett Johansson as Molly and SofĂ­a Vergara as Inez did a great job playing roles a little bit different than what they do in most movie; still not different enough to be remarkable but it worked.

The movie also had two villains, Dustin Hoffman as Riva the clueless restaurateur and Oliver Platt as Ramsey Michel food critic and wordsmith that takes people apart with his reviews. Even Robert Downey Jr. as a small cameo brought laughter to the movie.

The movie is about great food and it also has some great music. I think it is a foodies’ must see this summer. One thing I found interesting is its take head on the topic of internet reviews. It is not very often that you get to face your critic and let him know how you feel. That part was interesting to watch. While it was a movie about food, it was also about social media in many ways. It is worth the time to watch it on the big screen. Do not go hungry into that movie if you are hungry or you will spend the rest of the day trying to find your nearest Cuban restaurant.

Kick Ass (***)

Since hating the movie Watchmen I have read the graphic novel thanks to Nuke. I am also patiently awaiting the arrival of Iron Man 2 and looking forward to a Thor movie. With good movies about superheroes come horrible ones, and thankfully Kick Ass is not one of them. I will try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible because I think you should enjoy go and enjoy this movie. It might not be a full spend 10 bucks to go see it, but I felt like watching it and only paying matinee prices was a complete WIN.

Since I did love the movie, the first thing is to let you know what I did not like. Marketing for this movie was great but can be confusing for parents. Do NOT be fooled into thinking that this is something that kids can watch. The themes and action is very adult in nature. I saw way too many kids in the movie and it made me question parents sanity when they expose their kids to that much blood.

There is a back story to the movie that could have made an excellent movie all on its own and it was beautifully presented. I like the art, style and tone of this movie. I am not into dark comedies, or at least I was not… this movie executes that in a very crafty way. You don’t love the characters or hate them, you just watch them interact and tell a story full of laughs and emotions. Escapism at its best.

There are plenty of surprising moment in the movie and that is what makes it great. I love watching movies where I cannot predict the plot from scene to scene but just simply sit back and wait for the next surprise. This movie was full of that.

The acting was superb and I wish I would not spoil half of the movie by telling you who my favorite character was, I am sure you will figure it out once you see it. The movie is left open for a sequel but I am sure this was just a one movie type of deal. Go watch it before it goes off the theaters… or catch it as soon as it gets to the dollar show! That would probably make it even better.

Baby Mama (*)

buy at Amazon.com

From the previous I had high hopes for this comedy. I thought that they were funny, but not too SNL like. I was disappointing when I started watching it and saw more movie cliches than actual comedy. I would bother with trying to save the spoilers if I actually thought this movie was somewhat enjoyable, but trust me, you will want to just turn it off. If it was not because both Bea and I had long weeks and were kind of trying to just kick back and relax, we would have probably turned it off and went to do something else.

The problem with the movie is not that it is too predictable, or that it feels like a bunch of SNL skits tied together. The problem is that the characters are never people you could connect with. The moment you were trying to feel for one of them, the punchline to some joke would make them feel too cartoonish to actually be real people.

I am not a Steve Martin fan, I don’t quite dislike him, but I have never found him extremely funny; however his little role in this movie was perfect. He was cartoonish enough that you never took him seriously so he ended up being the only character that really worked.

Do not rent or buy this DVD, please wait for it to come out on cable and maybe then give it a try… but trust me, after a half an hour you will want to turn the channel.